Casa Beidisia at the Punta Mita Resort, Mexico in Architectural Digest
A Seaward Orientation
Architecture by José Vigil/Interior Design by Adriana Olmedo
Text by Patricia Leigh Brown/Photography by David O. Marlow
Published August 2009
Mexico is a country of exuberant visual procession. Its zocalos, or central plazas, are filled with elderly couples strolling arm in arm, roving children eating ice cream, romantically inclined young women and men encircling each other beneath string lights and Mylar balloons.
The sense of life eloquently unfolding is also an essential element of contemporary Mexican architecture. And so it is in a tropical residence for a Los Angeles couple and their family designed by the Mexico City architect José Vigil in Punta Mita, on Banderas Bay north of Puerto Vallarta, a coveted peninsula known for nine and a half miles of white-sand beaches and the local dive, the Four Seasons Punta Mita (see Architectural Digest, July 2000).
Situated on a deep lot, the compound is conceived as a sequence of open patios and sheltered interior spaces leading inexorably to the sea. The husband, a recently retired television executive who is originally from South Africa, has christened the house Beidisia, a phonetic interpretation of an Afrikaans phrase that means “by the sea.”
“We wanted to avoid the kind of house that’s typical in the city, where living takes place in one structure,” says Vigil, who works frequently in Punta Mita and Ixtapa as well as Mexico City. “The idea was to enjoy the site and the weather every time you move through the house.”
The residence consists of six separate structures linked by overhead trellises crafted from tropical parota wood and shielded from summer rains by glass deftly concealed in the latticework. The formal, sculptural entrance, with its gravel plaza, leads to a soothing interior courtyard surrounding a shallow pool—a hearth plaza where it’s possible to sense the ocean “even though you’re not on the beach,” says Vigil.
In Mexico City, Vigil—who goes by the nickname Pepe—is involved in a foundation devoted to the historic home and studio of Luis Barragán, the late Pritzker Prize-winning architect, whose sense of space and light reverberates in the residence. “What’s interesting for me about Barragán’s work is the poetry of the space, the different emotions it provokes when you walk through,” he says.
Throughout the property, terraces and double-height ceilings capture the sky and ocean breezes, inviting cross ventilation without the need for air-conditioning and bringing in the sensuous sound of rustling palms. Wood shutters—a typical element on the Mexican coast—part to reveal sets of glass doors and sliding screens that ward off mosquitoes. All open gloriously onto the water, a glistening azure nursery for humpback whales and olive ridley sea turtles.
For the executive, the heady mix of the tropics and pristine beaches proved irresistible. He and his wife, who have two surfer daughters, discovered the architect by way of his local residential work and his “cliff” and “beach” villas for the Four Seasons. “We wanted a comfortable, simple-lined home,” the executive says. “The location of the property, about 35 feet above the beach, gave us this huge vista. We wanted the house to be about that big open light and space, with just a few materials and tones drawn from the colors of the garden and the sea.”